Even though Pam and I have raised our families on oppostite sides of the country, we have worked very hard over the years to get our families together as often as we could. It definitely hasn't been the same as if we had raised our kids in the same town, but the relationships they share and the love they have for each other couldn't be much better even if we had. The wonderful thing about this is that each time we get together, there is absolutely no awkwardness or time spent getting comfortable with each other again. It may have been a couple of months since we all last saw each other, but it feels like it could have been a couple of days.
It is also much the same with Joe's family. They have always included Pam and her family in everything we've done as a Hitzel family and it truly feels like we are all one big family, not in-laws. We are reaping the rewards of this, this week.
Michael's graduation was Thursday evening. My principal, Sheila, arranged for us to have VIP parking and for a golf cart to take me from the parking lot to the stadium. It's not that I couldn't have walked in by myself, but I do get really short of breath and tire out pretty easily, so this was a huge help. She also arranged for me to have preferential seating. I didn't want to sit by myself, however, and planned to climb up into the stands so I could share the experience with my family. When Sheila learned of this she spoke to the vice-principal in charge of graduation and arranged for all twelve of us to have preferential seating! We all literally had side-line seats! It had been a bit of a rough week, physically, leading up to to this and there had been points where I wasn't even sure with all the extra help that I was going to make it to the ceremony. I not only made it, but had an absolutely fantastic time. Sitting there surrounded by the best family anyone could ask for and watching our youngest graduate high school just filled me with so much joy and pride. Thank you, Sheila, for being the amazing friend that you are!
Michael entering the stadium and spotting us on the sidelines.
After graduation, it was back to our house for vanilla ice cream and Grandma's famous hot fudge sauce. Yumm!!! Next, (drum roll please!) time to open presents. This is the big surprise I wrote about at the end of my last post. Michael uses my iTouch periodically to play games or check his Facebook page. Last week, when I was in Tuscon, I opened up Facebook and for some reason it went to Michael's inbox instead of mine. I started reading the first message and in it he mentions to a friend who is going to turn 18 how he turned 18 a while ago, but has always wanted to go skydiving. I had absolutely no clue! As far as Joe and I can remember, he had never said anything about this to us. So, I secretly set up for him to go skydiving the Friday morning after graduation. But first, after talking about it with Pam, I decided it would be more fun if he had someone to jump with; someone to share the experience with. I asked Joe. "No." I asked Joey. "No." Finally, I asked Janaya. "Absolutely! If Michael is going to jump out of a plane, I'm jumping with him!" So first thing Friday morning, the whole family packed up and drove out to Casa Grande to watch them skydive. They loved it! I'm amazed at how absolutely fearless the two of them were. They were 100% excited! Here are a few pictures.
So, that is all I'm going to write about for now. Everyone is out and about and I have some time to recharge my batteries for the evening. More updates later.
Much love to everyone!